Well suddenly it’s all kicking off. In the space of a single playground duty I caught twins terrorizing a slug (that’s how the Krays started out), a child wail that he’d been the victim of an unwanted ‘head massage’ and overheard the delightful playground ditty ‘My boyfriend pushed me down the stairs’.
It was all kicking off elsewhere too. To a backdrop of a heavy workload, and a class with the attention span of a traumatized goldfish, I met a student who will be working with me for 9 weeks. I’d already been forewarned by a former school and my Head Teacher that she had a tendency to ‘stalk’. I then started getting odd, desperate emails from her and requests for a ‘formal meeting’. Despite the burdensome amount of work I had on, I agreed to it.
An hour and a half later I realised my mistake. I was being interviewed/interrogated by an almost pathologically enthusiastic student. She was like an annoying second cousin that you tolerate because
a) You see them once in a blue moon.
b) You know they’re lonely.
Two weeks in, and just as a butterfly can flap its wings and cause an earthquake on the other side of the planet, this student can just be approaching my classroom in the morning and piss me off.
As I sat having my first appraisal, the realisation it could be time to step off the teaching treadmill dawned on me. Is it me I wondered or the school? The following notice in the staffroom gave me some hope it was the latter ‘for those of you who knew Christine she will not be returning as she has resigned and will be staying in Afghanistan’. Civil War vs. working at our school? No contest apparently.
Idly sitting in the staff meeting and playing my brand new game of ‘Brown nose bingo!’ my thoughts turned to the specifics of my decision. I started first by doing the maths: If a psychotic child in my class is having his 1 hour or day allocation increased by half an hour, how long will it be before he can f**k up my entire day?
Then I thought about others in the class . If it was a relationship, you’d sit them down and tell them it just wasn’t working out. From the child with the most unhygienic of habits (things I never thought I’d hear myself say in teaching #1 ‘Stop eating your own flesh!’) to the child who claims to have a racist duck and keeps finding pubes in our library books (I know, I’m suspect number one here but you have my assurances I’m entirely innocent).
To finish the day we had parents evening. I wore my best suit and tie which said ‘Don’t hit me’ and thankfully it worked (only because I managed to duck in time). I knew that the week had taken its toll as I passed a parent a note. I’d written on it some recommended websites and meant to say “Hope it helps” but instead said “Hope it clears up”.
As I left the school I saw one child in my class kicking at some ladybirds on a wall. I felt this was a time to use the short, sharp shock. “You know you could be killing mother ladybirds that are carrying babies” I explained. He continued to kick at them. I gripped my hair in frustration. Then stopped, smiled, patted him on the head and sent him on his way. Oh, did I forget to mention the spread of nits had reached me?